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Joel on Software

2002/09/13

by Joel Spolsky
Friday, September 13, 2002

John Robb has an interesting perspective on trust-based, targetted advertising based on his experiences at Gomez during the heady days of the Internet gold rush.

Nobody believes advertisements any more. There's a lot of evidence that advertising just doesn't work, no matter how targetted, so if you have a product to sell you have no choice but to get into the editorial side, where consumers' defenses are lowered. Product placements are one example of this.

There is an unfortunate tragedy of the commons, here. When advertising first rose to prominence, advertisements did work. We hadn't built up our immunities yet. As more and more advertisers used the opportunity of the medium to lie, we learned not to trust advertisements. But we still trust editorial. And once editorial gets polluted by desperate marketers using PR instead of advertising to promote their message, nobody will believe it either.


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I’m Joel Spolsky, co-founder of Fog Creek Software, a New York company that proves that you can treat programmers well and still be highly profitable. Programmers get private offices, free lunch, and work 40 hours a week. Customers only pay for software if they’re delighted. We make Trello, easy web-based collaboration software, FogBugz, an enlightened bug tracking and software development tool, and Kiln, a distributed source control system that will blow your socks off. I’m also the co-founder and CEO of Stack Exchange. More about me.

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